Everything About the Sky Lantern Saga in Sentosa & Why It Happened


In an era where social media ensures that few events go unnoticed, the Sky Lantern Festival scheduled for 21 February 2024 in Sentosa became a topic of widespread discussion—especially due to its unexpected outcome.

What was envisioned as an illuminate night sky with golden hues from the lanterns, concluded with lanterns tied to barricades and hundreds of disappointed attendees.

Spoiler alert: The root to this cause traces back to something that actually happened two days earlier.

Expectations of the Festival

Scheduled at Palawan Green, Sentosa, from 3:00 PM to midnight, the Sky Lantern Festival was priced at $50 per ticket, excluding booking fees.

The festival promised a fun evening, beginning with the Happy Hour Music Festival. Attendees were looking forward to a lineup of exciting musical performances and a diverse array of food and beverage options.

The highlight of the event was to be the ceremonial release of lanterns into the sky, where participants would write their wishes on lanterns before “releasing” them into the sky.

The lanterns will not be released in the night sky but instead be tethered to the ground with a 60-metre-long bamboo string. Once the candle subsides, the attendees will be able to retrieve the lanterns using the string.

The lanterns would be released in five batches, starting from 7:30pm. Each batch of lanterns would stay up for five to ten minutes till the candle subsides.

Basically, it was supposed to look like this dreamy scene in Tangled.

Source: tenor.com

Or, if you’ve been to Taiwan, the Shifen sky lantern at Taipei.

The Stark Reality

Contrary to expectations, the lantern release was abruptly cancelled due to “unforeseen circumstances.”

A brief notice announced a delay in the festival, leaving many in the dark as no formal cancellation announcement was made.

Source: Tik Tok (@sheryllim80)

In another video, Tik Tok user, onericeplease, was seen asking the staff when the lanterns are being released. The staff simply replied, “Got lantern but no light up.”

Source: Tik Tok (@oncericeplease)

The lanterns were still given out but with a led light instead. Attendees were encouraged to still write their wishes on the lantern and tie it to the barricades around.

Source: Tik Tok (@onericeplease)

Surely the food and music can make up for this, right? Well… no. Unfortunately, these aspects also fell short of expectations.

Apparently, the only performance that took place was by a violinist.

Source: Tik Tok (@sheryllim80)

Furthermore, the food stalls were seemingly empty and Tik Tok user, onericeplease, even shared that they were “non-existent”.

Source: Tik Tok (@onericeplease)

The attendees were informed that they could request a refund through the ticketing platform, Eventbrite. However, refunds would not be given to people who chose to collect the lantern and led light.

Source: Tik Tok (@sheryllim80)

The Reason Behind the Cancellation

The festival’s abrupt alteration stemmed from the organisers’ failure to comply with safety guidelines set by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

When speaking to TODAY, SCDF said that it informed the organiser of the guidelines on 31 October 2023.

One of the guidelines explained that the lighted sky lanterns must be tethered at all times and safety marshals, equipped with fire extinguishers, must be on site to supervise the event. More importantly, lanterns that are not tethered must be prevented from being released.


A trial run two days prior to the event revealed significant safety concerns, including a small fire on artificial grass caused by a lantern candle.

Moreover, on the day of the event, SCDF conducted a site inspection and found that the organiser did not follow the guidelines. Proper tethers for the lanterns were not provided, and safety marshals and fire extinguishers were not present.

Thus, SCDF advised the organiser against using the sky lanterns for the event.

As of now, there are no further updates or details about refunds.

I guess travelling to Taiwan to experience the Sky Lantern Festival seems like a better choice after all.